Palm Sunday: Do We Approach Jesus with an Open Hand or a Closed Fist?

Palm Sunday Picture

Today is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, we celebrate Jesus in his humble glory riding a donkey and its colt into the city of Jerusalem, as the crowds and children cry out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, 15) The crowds threw palm branches on the path before Jesus to celebrate him as their approaching King (Matthew 21:8; John 12:13), who came to bring peace and justice. Many … [Read more...]

Displaced Christians Place Emphasis on Forgiveness and Love

©2013 ODI

What good is religion, anyway? Religion is extremely good, when it promotes radical love in the face of extreme hate. I was deeply moved by the video of Christian girls in Erbil, Iraq, who were interviewed after they and their families were displaced from their homes by ISIS. My friend Adam Estle at Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding made available this video link in his recent EMEU Weekly Communiqué, which you can find here.How would we respond if we were displaced from our homes … [Read more...]

Millennial-Minded Churches: Not So Fast—Know Why We’re Fasting at Lent

Fasting at Lent

Millennials are often viewed as that generation that came into adulthood around the turn of the twenty-first century (See this description of Millennials). They are also into previous millenniums, when it comes to an affirmation (albeit eclectic) of tradition (Refer to this article in U.S. News & World Report on Millennials and religious tradition) and embodied, tactile spirituality involving the various senses. In particular, I have in mind Evangelical Protestant Millennials. As a recent … [Read more...]

What Did God Give Up for Lent?

Chocolate and Copy--PLM

Many Christians celebrate Lent, a forty day season of prayer and fasting that ends the day before Easter. Christians who observe Lent give up creaturely comforts and habits of various kinds, such as chocolate, coffee, and cigarettes. This year, Pope Francis called on Christians to give up the global problem of indifference during Lent. The Pope claimed, “As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has ta … [Read more...]

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” not tax evasion

No doubt, the Apostle Peter had Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew in mind when he encourages and exhorts Christians to suffer for righteousness’ sake, not murder, thievery, evil, meddling—and no doubt deception like tax evasion: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insult … [Read more...]

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” not the cheesemakers

©2010 Creative Commons

Matthew 5:9 reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (ESV). This verse is one of the most quoted lines of the Beatitudes, but that does not mean it is the best understood. In fact, it has been misprinted, as in the second edition of the Geneva Bible. There it reads, “Blessed are the placemakers.” Monty Python took the liberty of people in the crowd mishearing Jesus’ words for a few good laughs in Life of Brian—“…Blessed are the cheesemakers” (Refer here to the sc … [Read more...]

From Midlife to End of Life—Age Well

©2008 Ubi Desperare Nescio

In January, I asked my boss who is a few months older than I what it was like to reach the 51 year mark and experience midlife crisis. His response: he’s not experiencing midlife crisis, but end of life crisis. Today, I turned 51. As I rub cerebral Bengay into my out-of-whack cognitive joints, let the sympathy cards flow in.Some men resort to mistresses, while others resort to sports cars in coping with such crises. Regardless that some might quip I cannot afford either option (nor am I i … [Read more...]


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